The first weekend of June once again brings the Fiddlers Reunion back to Athens. Fiddlers and fans come out to enjoy the atmosphere, sample the food, and enjoy the breakdowns, waltzes, and jigs.
The fiddlers come from all over for the sixty-sixth annual event, including seventy-six year old Smokey Butler of Huntington. A reunion regular, Smokey is making a return appearance after missing last year's contest following heart surgery. After sixty years with his fiddle, Smokey is looking forward to once playing again for the crowd.
"I just like to see them enjoy it, hear them clapping," Smokey says. "I play for people to enjoy it."
And that's exactly what the crowd did. Hundreds of people came early, brought lawn chairs, and camped out on the Athens square. The Fiddler's Reunion stretches across age and gender lines. From older traditional bluegrass acts, to bands like the Quebe sisters.
Three sisters from Burleson, the Quebes began playing violin four years ago. Classical turned into bluegrass, and the violin became the fiddle. "We do do it as a family," Sophia Quebe said, "but it's more than just a hobby for us, it's kind of our thing."
Before it's all finished, over fifty acts will perform in several different categories. The Grand Champion will win five hundred dollars. But most of the performers who came aren't concerned with winning. Smokey Butler admitted, "I go to have a good time. If I win, good, if I lose, you know, it don't bother me all that much."
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